Canada’s Military Not Ready to Defend Against Terrorists
Canada’s Senate defense committee reports that the country’s armed forces are woefully underfunded and totally unprepared to defend the country against the inevitable terrorist attack.
Canada’s military is “wounded” and the country’s defense without the money to do its job properly, according to a Senate report released Thursday. The report laments the lack of resources and coordinated manpower to deal with a terrorist attack or natural disaster. “A hard, honest look at the facts has made it clear to the committee that the funding is simply not there to end Canada’s sad era of military darkness,” said the review of defense policy by the Senate Standing committee on National Security and Defense.
The report notes that of the C$12.8 billion (US$10.9 billion) the government promised over the next five years to beef up the Canadian Forces, only C$1.1 billion ($938 million) was earmarked for the first two years. This means the rehabilitation process won’t get started until 2008-2009. “Even when the process does stutter to a start, it will remain vastly underfunded, primarily because the armed forces have been starved for money for so many years,” reads an executive summary by committee chairman, Liberal Party Senator Colin Kenny.
The report notes Canada — named by al Qaeda as one of five target nations deserving of an attack — has done little since 9/11 to invest in anti-terrorism prevention. “Canada has an unenviable place on Osama bin Laden’s infamous list of countries to be targeted. We may get lucky. But it’s not a bet you’d want to make. “Despite the increasing complacency of most Canadians as the memory of 9/11 slips to the back of our minds, there is every likelihood that an attack will eventually occur on Canadian soil,” the report said, yet noted that Canada ranks just 128th out of 165 countries in defense spending as a percentage of its gross domestic product.
Truly a shame. The Canadian Forces are well trained and professional but they operate in a political culture even more tepid on national defense than that which pervades Western Europe. They have the good fortune, however, of bordering a superpower that happens to be their strongest ally and trading partner.
crossposted to sda